Midnight Express

  • Directors: Alan Parker
  • Producers: Alan Marshall, David Puttnam
  • Writers: Billy Hayes, William Hoffer, Oliver Stone
  • Genres: Biography, Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Brad Davis, Randy Quaid, John Hurt, Paul L Smith, Irene Miracle

On October 6, 1970, after a stay in Istanbul, a US citizen named Billy Hayes is arrested by Turkish police, on high alert due to fear of terrorist attacks, as he is about to fly out of the country with his girlfriend. After being found with several bricks of hashish taped to his body – about two kilograms in total – he is arrested. After a while, a shadowy American arrives. He translates for Billy. The police ask where Billy bought the hash. Billy tells them that he bought it from a cab driver and offers to help the police track him down in exchange for his release. He goes with the police to a local market and points the cab driver out but while the police go to arrest the cabbie, Billy makes a run for it. He gets cornered in a building and is recaptured by the mysterious American. Billy is sentenced to four years and two months’ imprisonment on the charge of drug possession. He is sent to SaÄŸmalcılar prison (closed in 2008) to serve out his sentence. In the remand centre, he meets and befriends other Western prisoners. In 1974, after a prosecution appeal (who originally wished to have Hayes found guilty of smuggling and not possession), his original sentence is overturned by the Turkish High Court in Ankara and he is ordered to serve a 30-year term for his crime. His stay becomes a living hell: terrifying and unbearable scenes of physical and mental torture follow one another, where bribery, violence and insanity rule the prison.

In 1975, Susan comes to see Billy and is devastated at what the guards have done to him. After being committed to the prison’s insane asylum, Billy again tries to escape, this time by attempting to bribe the head guard, who then takes him to the sanitarium, intending to rape him. Billy ends up killing the guard. He then puts on an officer’s uniform and manages his escape by walking out of the front door. From the epilogue, it is explained that on the night of October 4, 1975 he successfully crossed the border to Greece, and arrived home three weeks later.

Hollow Man

  • Directors: Paul Verhoeven
  • Producers: Stacy Lumbrezer, Alan Marshall, Marion Rosenberg
  • Writers: Gary Scott Thompson, Andrew W Marlowe
  • Genres: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Elisabeth Shue, Kevin Bacon, Josh Brolin

Dr. Sebastian Caine (Kevin Bacon), a brilliant but egotistical molecular biologist, works on an invisibility serum for the U.S. military. His current project is reversing the invisibility effect on his test subject, a female gorilla named Isabelle. Working late one night he solves the problem and is able to return the gorilla to the visible world.

Although he works on the serum virtually non-stop, he still finds time to obsess about his ex-girlfriend Linda McKay (Elisabeth Shue), another scientist on his team, who, unbeknownst to Sebastian, is currently dating Matt Kensington (Josh Brolin), yet another team member. Sebastian and his team, that also includes animal vets Sarah Kennedy (Kim Dickens) and Carter Abbey (Greg Grunberg) and technicians Frank Chase (Joey Slotnick) and Janice Walton (Mary Randle) eventually do figure out how to get the serum to work on animals, bringing the gorilla back to visibility. Afterwards, the team eagerly looks forward to obtaining clearance for clinical trials on humans.

Instead of reporting his success to the military, Sebastian inexplicably lies to the oversight committee including Dr. Howard Kramer (William Devane), and decides to test the serum on himself. After some initial difficulties, the procedure is a success. Sebastian then goes through some lab tests. But when it comes time to bring him back to visibility after three days, the reversion fails.

Linda and Matt find the nitro about to explode, and decide to abandon the lab, climbing up the elevator shaft. The lab explodes filling the shaft with fire. The two are almost out when Sebastian appears. He fights with Linda and she finally kills him by grabbing the elevator cable and knocking the car loose, sending Sebastian into the inferno below. Eventually, both Linda and Matt emerge from the burning laboratory with the medics tending to their injuries.

Cliffhanger

  • Directors: Renny Harlin
  • Producers: Renny Harlin, Alan Marshall
  • Writers: John Long, Michael France, Sylvester Stallone
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller
  • Actors: Sylvester Stallone, John Lithgow, Michael Rooker, Janine Turner, Leon, Paul Winfield, and Ralph Waite

In the opening scene, hotshot mountain climber and rescue worker Gabe Walker (Sylvester Stallone) meets with his friends Hal Tucker (Michael Rooker) and Jessie Deighan (Janine Turner) on a narrow peak in the Rocky Mountains. While moving from one mountaintop to another via a steel cable, Hal’s girlfriend Sarah’s (Michelle Joyner) harness breaks and she is left dangling over a deep chasm. While the others frantically come up with a solution, Gabe straps himself in and goes out to save Sarah, but is unsuccessful as she falls to her death at the bottom of a mountain.

Months later, Gabe returns to town for the first time since Sarah’s funeral. Overcome with guilt over having lost Sarah, Gabe has returned only to pack up his remaining possessions so he can leave permanently. However, a radio distress call comes in to the local rescue center where Hal and Jessie still work. Hal heads off to find the stranded climbers while Jessie pleads with Gabe to join Hal’s rescue attempt. Battling his inner demons, Gabe meets Hal on the mountain, where the latter, still angry with Gabe for being unsuccessful at saving Sarah, lashes out and almost throws Gabe off the cliff.

Communicating by radio, Qualen and Gabe make a deal to exchange Jessie for the money Gabe collected from the third case. Qualen releases Jessie, but Gabe throws the bag of money into the helicopter’s rotors. In the following confusion, Qualen’s helicopter falls precariously against the side of the mountain, suspended by a steel cable. Gabe and Qualen fight atop the dangling wreck. Gabe manages to jump off as the wreckage plummets several thousand feet, carrying Qualen with it. After which, Tucker quotes “If you’re looking for Qualen, look about 4000 feet south of here. He’ll be the one wearing a Helicopter.” The film ends as Gabe, Hal, and Jessie are found by federal agents and rescued.

Basic Instinct

  • Directors: Paul Verhoeven
  • Producers: Mario Kassar, Alan Marshall
  • Writers: Joe Eszterhas
  • Genres: Mystery, Romance, Thriller
  • Actors: Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, George Dzundza, Jeanne Tripplehorn

In San Francisco, a down-and-out, recovering alcoholic detective, Nick Curran (Michael Douglas), has been involved in a turbulent relationship with Beth Garner (Jeanne Tripplehorn), a psychologist whose work for the police department includes reviewing Nick’s own case.

When a wealthy former rock star named Johnny Boz is brutally stabbed to death with an ice pick while having sex with a blonde woman, Nick is sent to investigate. The only suspect they have is Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone), a crime novelist last seen with Boz on the night he died.

Nick and his partner, Gus Moran (George Dzundza), visit a Pacific Heights mansion, but there they find only Tramell’s lesbian lover, Roxy, at home. Roxy sends them to Tramell’s Stinson Beach beach house, where they find her on a deckchair by the ocean. They ask about her dating relationship with Boz, and she replies, “I wasn’t dating him, I was fucking him.” She shows very little remorse at hearing he is dead. (Curran: “Are you sorry he’s dead?” Tramell: “Yeah, I liked fucking him.”)

Nick and Gus, along with their superiors, discover that Catherine Tramell has written a novel about a former rock star who was killed in the exact same way — tied to the bed with a white scarf and murdered with an ice pick. Catherine agrees to go to police headquarters for questioning. During this interview, she refuses to extinguish a cigarette (“What are you going to do, charge me with smoking?”) and uncrosses her legs, revealing to both her interrogators and to the viewers that she is not wearing underwear. This brings discomfort to the interrogators in the room, especially Nick, whom she continuously addresses by his first name or his nickname, “Shooter.”

In the final scene of the film, Catherine and Nick make love. The conversation soon turns towards their possible future as a couple, with Nick bringing up the issue of marriage and the two having children. While talking, Nick turns his back on Catherine as she slowly reaches for something underneath the bed. But Catherine stops when Nick turns around and tells Catherine that he doesn’t want children nor does he want to pressure Catherine into marriage. The two resume making love, as the camera slowly pans down to show the underside of the bed, an ice pick can be seen lying on the floor.